Critical Section


Skymall: the inventors parade

Sunday,  05/24/09  12:51 PM

I'm sure it's happened to you; you're sitting on a 'plane, waiting to take off or whatever, and you idly pick up the SkyMall magazine in the seat-back and glance through it.  I did this recently, and I was struck by the amazing inventor's parade on display.  All of these weird and wonderful gadgets were invented by someone, and after they had the idea they built a prototype, iterated, tried to get someone to make it, iterated, and finally found someone to distribute it.  Whether the idea is great or horrible, each product in the SkyMall catalog represents a lot of work.  Impressive, really.

eVision video glassesConsider these things, if you will:

  • Pen which records video.
  • Eyeglasses which display video on the inside of the lenses.
  • LP record to CD recorder.
  • Tiny universal cell phone charger.
  • iPod to iPod media transfer device.
  • A 7'x7' crossword puzzle.
  • Keychain WiFi signal locator.
  • Tabletop photo studio.
  • Automatic water dispenser for cats & dogs.
  • Pump-action gun that shoots mini marshmellows.
  • Swiveling deck chair.
  • Insect repellent hat.
  • 'Birdwatchers' motion-activated camera.

And that's just the first twenty pages.  Who said innovation is dead?

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